1844 : Olivet College Founded

February 24, 2023 all-day

Photo of Olivet College Historical Marker, courtesy of the Wikipedia Commons

Olivet College, Michigan’s first coeducational college and the first college to admit blacks, was established on this day in February 24, 1844.

The college — named for Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives — didn’t get a charter in 1845, likely because of its abolitionist views, but it ultimately received one in 1859.

The school was founded by the Rev. John J. Shipherd, a Congregational minister, who had cofounded Oberlin College in Ohio in 1833 and came to Michigan with 39 missionaries. The institution bought 40 acres for $100, and the first classes were held in a log cabin that December.


Olivet College Today

Sources :

Historical Society of Michigan and Michigan Every Day.

Zlati Meyer, “Michigan’s 1st coed college, Olivet, founded in 1844”, Detroit Free Press, February 22, 2015.

Olivet College Wikipedia Entry.